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JT acquires e-cigarette brand E-Lites

| June 11, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that it had concluded an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of the U.K.-based e-cigarette supplier Zandera, known for its E-Lites brand.

Founded in 2009, Zandera sells what JT described as the most recognized range of high-quality rechargeable and ready-to-use e-cigarettes in the U.K.

“Our investment in Zandera provides the JT Group with an excellent entry-point into the fast-growing e-cigarette category,” commented Masamichi Terabatake, Japan Tobacco International’s executive vice president and deputy CEO.

“With E-Lites’ well-established brand and product portfolio, we are able to offer adult consumers another important extension to our growing range of emerging and innovative products, such as tobacco vapor pods (Ploom).”

JT said the executive management team of Zandera would remain with the JT Group post-acquisition to allow the group to leverage the team’s extensive knowledge and experience of the e-cigarette industry, their understanding of the product, technology and regulatory landscape.

“With access to the JT Group’s global distribution muscle as well as their research and development expertise, proven commitment to quality assurance and vision for emerging products, we look forward to growing the business and further enhancing E-Lites’ product offering,” said Adrian Everett, Zandera’s co-founder and CEO.

The transaction will be funded by the group’s existing cash and loan facilities and is expected to have a minor effect on its consolidated performance and cash flows for the fiscal year 2014.

JT expects to complete the acquisition during the second quarter of the fiscal year 2014, following regulatory clearance.

 

SM makes modified risk filing in U.S.

| June 11, 2014

Swedish Match said today that it had submitted a modified-risk tobacco product (MRTP) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for eight sub-brands of its General snus product line.

“The MRTP application seeks a risk-modification order permitting the use of warning label statements on the company’s snus tobacco products that differ from those carried by other commercially marketed smokeless tobacco products,” the company said in a statement posted on its website.

The company went on to say that it had cited “an abundance” of Swedish and international evidence on the health effects of snus—evidence that stretched over three decades and included governmental cohort studies and clinical trial results.

“Swedish snus is very well scientifically documented, and our application consists of more than 100,000 pages,” professor Lars-Erik Rutqvist, M.D., Ph.D., the company’s senior vice president scientific affairs, was quoted as saying. “As an industry leader, we must properly apply the evidence to demonstrate the potential public health benefit of our snus tobacco products.”

Swedish Match said it had engaged with the FDA on its submission, meeting with FDA representatives on several occasions regarding the format and data requirements for the MRTP application.

“In 2013, the company also established an MRTP Advisory Panel, which has and will continue to provide independent advice and guidance to Swedish Match as it moves forward with the MRTP application,” the statement said.

Swedish snus is said to be available in more than 20,000 stores in the U.S.

Ireland to follow Australia’s lead

| June 11, 2014

Ireland looks set to implement standardized packaging for tobacco products following approval by the Cabinet of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2014, according to a story in the Irish Examiner.

If enacted, the new law will ban from packs logos and trademarks, along with brand colors, designs and graphics. Product names will be included but in a uniform typeface on a plain background, and packs will be dominated by graphic health warnings.

According to the Examiner story, the Department of Health said the objective was to make packs look less attractive, to make health warnings more prominent and to reduce the risk that people, especially children, would be misled about the harmful effects of smoking.

“The introduction of standardized packaging will remove the final way for tobacco companies to promote their deadly product in Ireland,” said Health Minister James Reilly. “Cigarette packets will no longer be a mobile advertisement for the tobacco industry.”

Court rejects tobacco companies’ appeal

| June 11, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected efforts by the tobacco industry to derail thousands of Florida smoker lawsuits and left intact 11 awards totaling more than $70 million, according to a story by Greg Stohr for Business Week/Bloomberg.

Units of Altria Group, Reynolds American and Lorillard had asked the Supreme Court to intervene, saying they weren’t being afforded an adequate chance to mount a defense.

The justices, without comment, turned away 10 appeals affecting 11 cases.

The tobacco companies had said in court papers that they faced the prospect of billions of dollars in damages in more than 4,000 pending lawsuits.

The cases had already produced more than $450 million in liability, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco told the high court.

JT to relaunch Winston products in Japan

| June 11, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. is to relaunch two Winston products in Japan in the Winston XS format, which, it says, offers a smoother, finer flavor with a subtly sweet aftertaste, while maintaining the distinctive and balanced taste characteristic of the brand.

XS products are said to incorporate, too, LSS (less smoke smell) technologies, which are present in a number of products sold in Japan, where the technology has long been referred to as D-Spec.

Winston Lights 6 Box and Winston Ultra One 100s Box will be relaunched as Winston XS 6 Box and Winston XS One 100s Box respectively.

They will be made available across Japan from the middle of July.

JT said that Winston was the world’s second biggest cigarette brand (Euromonitor 2013 data) and was available in more than 100 countries.

Imperial to float Logista

| June 11, 2014

Imperial Tobacco said yesterday that it intended to float its European logistics division, Logista, on the Spanish stock market, according to a story by Paul Sandle for Reuters.

Imperial said its indirectly wholly owned subsidiary Altadis would sell a portion of shares in Logista to institutional investors in an initial public offer.

The company said in February that it was reviewing Logista as part of a focus on its core cigarette business.

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